CTU asks UNITE to explain unpaid PAYE tax

December 3rd, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

In a follow up to the story I blogged about yesterday, Rebecca Stevenson at the Dom Post reports:

The Council of Trade Unions wants an explanation from on why it failed to pay the more than $36,000 in PAYE on behalf of its employees.

Unite, one of New Zealand’s largest unions, owed IRD over $130,000 for the year ended March 2009 (its most recent filing), including more than $57,000 in unpaid GST. For the same financial year its liabilities outweighed its assets by more than $170,000.

It is the unpaid PAYE that will be causing most concern, as this is in fact money owed by the employees to the IRD, and UNITE has appropriated it for its own purposes. It is the sort of stuff that the newspaper boss Maxwell did – but on a much smaller scale.

Unite head confirmed yesterday that the union owed money to the IRD but said he had made choices to pay for union campaigns rather than clear the debt. “I don’t shy away from these decisions, I make the calls.”

He said Unite paid $8000 in PAYE each month to the IRD but kept incurring late payment penalties. He claimed not to know exactly how much it owed the IRD.

The late penalties do add up – as many businesses know. But if it was a deliberate decision to keep running campaigns, instead of paying off the debt, then few will have sympathy.

He agreed it was not a good look for a workers’ union to fail to pay its employees’ .

I don’t think Matt realises how bad a look it is. The next time UNITE or Matt calls for greater government spending, this issue will arise.

president Helen Kelly said Unite did good work in an area that was difficult and expensive to organise. That required it to juggle its finances. “All unions are always short of resources.”

However, when questioned on Unite’s tax failure, she said: “I need an explanation for that”.

I’m not sure I would say all unions are short of resources. The combined wealth of the union movement puts the Business Roundtable, Business NZ, and the Chambers of Commerce to shame. I did a blog post a couple of years back comparing them.

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61 Responses to “CTU asks UNITE to explain unpaid PAYE tax”

  1. RightNow (6,773 comments) says:

    “he had made choices to pay for union campaigns rather than clear the debt. “I don’t shy away from these decisions, I make the calls.””

    So he’s openly admitting to theft. That money never ‘belonged’ to Unite, they only ever held it in trust.

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  2. BeaB (2,067 comments) says:

    I am always astonished that the mainly low-paid workers who belong to unions tolerate the huge sums of money being spent on salaries for head office staff, political campaigns, advertisements, travel etc. It is scandalous that well-paid careers are built on the backs of these workers and even potential political careers.

    There’s always a whiff of something nasty when middle class careerists like Andrew Little and Helen Kelly shamelessly promote themselves using their members as funders and pawns.

    I am sorry to hear this about McCarten but he writes so heatedly and self-righteously that perhaps it is unsurprising he sees himself as a law unto himself, unlike us lesser mortals.

    Perhaps we need some new laws about the powers of unions – if they want to have free access to workplaces etc then they should be required to be politically neutral – banned from making political contributions and running political campaigns unless they raise separate money specifically for these purposes.

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  3. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    The combined wealth of the union movement puts the Business Roundtable, Business NZ, and the Chambers of Commerce to shame. I did a blog post a couple of years back comparing them

    That sounds very interesting. It’s not easy finding old posts on Kiwiblog though, i’ve found…

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  4. Pete George (23,123 comments) says:

    That quote concerns me the most RightNow. It seems like an admission of deliberate misappropriation. McCarten sounds naive to say that and to do that, but ignorance is not a valid excuse.

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  5. Jeremy Harris (323 comments) says:

    Unite head Matt McCarten confirmed yesterday that the union owed money to the IRD but said he had made choices to pay for union campaigns rather than clear the debt. “I don’t shy away from these decisions, I make the calls.”

    What a stupid thing to say… It seems more than obvious to the majority of people with any common sense that if you have a (damaging economically and politically) debt to the bloody IRD you should pay that before campaigns…

    I did a blog post a couple of years back comparing them.

    Link please…

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  6. Macfre (21 comments) says:

    Interesting that IRD is OK with a deal to drip feed $8k a month, given that it is rarely so generous to employers, especially employers who have misappropriated money gathered on the government’s behalf. I feel a letter to IRD coming on…l

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  7. PaulL (5,960 comments) says:

    I’m not sure how this is different than any other business that decides to fund it’s operations before it’s debts to the IRD. Those organisations are rightly pilloried. This is very typical of the union movement – they think that actions that they would decry in any other business are perfectly OK for them to take – because they are on the side of angels. Things like:
    – failing to pay their debts
    – requiring their staff to work unreasonable hours, and denying leave
    – bullying and intimidation in the workplace
    – intolerance of people with different political views
    – unjustified dismissal

    The problem is, most businesses think that they’re a special case. Unions are no different. They just fail to recognise that they’re the same as everyone else.

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  8. davidp (3,549 comments) says:

    >Unite head Matt McCarten confirmed yesterday that the union owed money to the IRD but said he had made choices to pay for union campaigns rather than clear the debt. “I don’t shy away from these decisions, I make the calls.”

    Dodgy property developer Terry Serepisos confirmed yesterday that he owed money to the IRD but said he had made choices to pay for a football team and a Ferrari rather than clear the debt. “I don’t shy away from these decisions, I make the calls. You’re fired!”

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  9. Buaidh No Bars (17 comments) says:

    By knowingly using funds held on trust for PAYE for other discretionary purposes he has committed taxation offences and Crimes Act offences.

    The IRD have no choice but to prosecute.

    The SFO have no choice but to investigate.

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  10. Avalon (39 comments) says:

    “Unite head Matt McCarten confirmed yesterday that the union owed money to the IRD but said he had made choices to pay for union campaigns rather than clear the debt.”

    Im sure we would all like to choose to do other things with the money we have to pay in various taxes. I’d personally rather buy more coffee than pay my income tax and GST to the tax man, and my cashflow would certainly be easier to manage if I wasn’t immediately setting aside my GST and Income tax in clearly marked savings accounts so that I don’t incur any late fees.

    Jeeze – what is it with these people? I hope the IRD come down on this guy like a ton of bricks, for deliberately withholding tax money because he thinks he has more right to decide what to do with it than the IRD. Never mess with the IRD – they have bigger boots to kick you with. I hope they use them.

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  11. Inventory2 (10,160 comments) says:

    I suspect that Unite’s accountants will be working furiously today, readying the union’s books for an audit by the IRD. If McCarten or other officers of Unite have deliberately withheld PAYE payments, then they have also disadvantaged staff by not paying Kiwisaver, Child Support and Student Loan deductions, thus affecting their employees’ accounts. That’s hardly the action of a “good employer”. It seems that McCarten was right all along; all bosses ARE scumbags!

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  12. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    BeaB

    Perhaps we need some new laws about the powers of unions – if they want to have free access to workplaces etc then they should be required to be politically neutral

    Exactly, particularly public service workplaces where employees are expected to be politically neutral at work. Imagine the BRT turning up somewhere like the Min of Ed head office demanding entry and handing out NZ works better under National paraphernalia !

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  13. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    Buaidh No Bars

    By knowingly using funds held on trust for PAYE for other discretionary purposes he has committed taxation offences and Crimes Act offences.

    Oh but it’s different when the lefties do it, can we just validate him and move on?

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  14. ch123 (584 comments) says:

    I could be wrong, but as far as I am aware the employee is considered to have paid their PAYE, SL, Kiwisaver etc regardless of whether or not it was actually paid, as long as the return is completed by the employer.

    I was involved in a business many years ago where we ended up owing the IRD something like $100k in unpaid GST and PAYE/SL. The business went into liquidation and the IRD never got their money.

    But for me personally, those student loan repayments which came out of my wages as an employee (which the IRD never got) were still lodged against my student loan account.

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  15. Bandycoot (29 comments) says:

    I certainly hope Matt has not put his employees at risk of IRD attention through his decision not to pay THEIR taxes to the man…..

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  16. davidp (3,549 comments) says:

    Unite staff should join a union to protect themselves from their exploitative employer.

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  17. david (2,545 comments) says:

    Talk of strong action by SFO and IRD is blowing smoke guys. Obviously IRD have agreed to a scheme of repayment which may or may not involve rebate of penalties and interest and which, in effect, may offer Unite the equivalent of a low-interest loan or even an interest-free loan from the gummint.

    This is a case where it would be in the public interest for the public to be satisfied that IRD have been even-handed in their treatment of Matt and his merry band of outlaws when compared with how they have treated others in similar circumstances. Accordingly they should release details of the scheme and of Unite’s diligence in complying with that scheme.

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  18. Inventory2 (10,160 comments) says:

    @ David – I would agree with you had Unite been unable to pay because of financial difficulties. The admission by McCarten that he made conscious decisions not to meet Unite’s tax obligations casts a far darker shadow.

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  19. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    Perhaps McCarten’s problem is that he signed contracts with the workers that means now he can’t fire them. His business will bleed to death meeting it’s own unrealistic workers rights obligations carrying a whole pile of inappropriate staff.

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  20. PaulL (5,960 comments) says:

    Imagine I’m a small business owner, and I have some financial difficulties. I have money available, but instead of paying my obligations to the IRD, I decide to spend it on marketing campaign in an attempt to win an RFP at a large client. Everyone says that I’m a long shot, and that in fact I can’t win. But I do it anyway. Now I have no money, and didn’t win the RFT. Is it OK to say “I don’t shy away from these decisions, I make the calls”?

    My feeling is that it is actually fine – small businesses do this every day. Fine doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and probably bankrupted. But they made a business call, it proved to be wrong, that’s why we have limited liability companies.

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  21. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    McCartten has stolen tax money to fund union activites.

    As always he seems to think a defence of “greater good” is enough to exuce things. given his own admission that it was deliberate and he made decision thens i think some jail time for Matt would be apropriate.

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  22. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    Will McCarten get the parliament version of punishment for misuse of tax payers money simply because he contested a by-election? Is that qualifying him under the punishment provision of ‘pay it back when you can’ rather than normal IRD penalties and interest?

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  23. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    Murray

    i think some jail time for Matt would be apropriate.

    He was only trying to help people and he had an election campaign to fund. Please, he’s not one of us you know, he’s a politician now.

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  24. reid (16,061 comments) says:

    “Jeeze – what is it with these people?”

    Matt doesn’t shy away from his decision: “I don’t shy away from these decisions, I make the calls.” because he’s a screaming lefty. Screaming lefties all think that govt money belongs to them, not to anyone else. They think, tax is theft, except when it’s not the poor who’s getting taxed. Then it’s OK. That’s why he doesn’t shy away.

    Gosh what a martyr. He’s such a fighter for the workers.

    You have to wonder what planet these people live on, don’t you.

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  25. Tinakori (67 comments) says:

    So these law breakers continued paying themselves while withholding PAYE deductions from IRD. Clearly it is embezzlement. How can they say the funds were spent on union promotional activity while still taking their salaries. Did the keep the PAYE in a seperate tin box? Most unlikely. In fact the funds would be sitting in the one bank account so that the bosses could take their salaries. They were paying themselves from their staff’s deductions. Robbing their staff no less. McCarten’s response is pure tosh; simply a cover up for bad management linked to criminal activity.

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  26. Pete George (23,123 comments) says:

    “Imagine I’m a small business owner,”

    There’s quite a difference, McCarten doesn’t own UNITE. The union takes fees from workers and is supposed to be representing them. It’s more like someone running a club or society.

    Business owners that divert funds into their business that should go straight to IRD are getting onto a slippery slope, especially if they have a mindset of “just this once it will rescue the business and then I can catch up with the IRD”.

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  27. RRM (9,582 comments) says:

    hell hath no fury… like the blogosphere hath when someone from the other side gets caught doing something dodgy.

    Not that I want to diminish the dodginess. Unions ought to be squeaky clean if they want to maintain the impression that they are about the little guy, and are not merely a gang.

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  28. scrubone (3,074 comments) says:

    Someone above asked why the members put up with the high salaries.

    I remember when I first joined the workforce. I (out of curiosity) asked a workmate what the union fees were. His answer made my jaw drop. Knowing as I did just how wasteful compulsory student associations were, to discover that unions were charging vastly more was astonishing.

    So I didn’t join. They didn’t get my money. They missed out because they charged far too much.

    So the answer to the question is in effect, many potential members *don’t*. That’s the beauty of voluntary membership.

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  29. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    scrubone

    If membership were compulsory then UNITE would have paid it’s tax – or got a nice big new Merc for Matt, not sure which.

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  30. Inventory2 (10,160 comments) says:

    RRM said “Unions ought to be squeaky clean if they want to maintain the impression that they are about the little guy, and are not merely a gang.”

    I agree wholeheartedly RRM. Remember back to the time of the Christchurch earthquake? Matt Jones, a Unite union organiser down there took the media on a Tour of Shame to dob in business owners who had supposedly ripped off workers at the time of the ‘quake. I wonder how Mr Jones feels today, with the knowledge that his employer is no better that the ones that he had led the media to.

    http://keepingstock.blogspot.com/2010/09/matt-jones-and-tour-of-shame.html

    McCarten has cut his reputation on sticking up for the little guy against the wicked corporates. Brand McCarten is going to be badly tarnished by this.

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  31. badmac (139 comments) says:

    I know somebody who didn’t pay PAYE for 12 months ($170k), agreed to repayments, got behind on those. Is now out of business and being prosecuted by IRD for Fraud and will also be bankrupted.

    Heres another I know of. http://www.newzealandtaxation.com/2009/12/court-sentence-for-paye-fraud/

    One law for all. Come on IRD its your job to be Fair (to ALL Tax payers).
    Send them the 10 days to pay letter and if not paid in full appoint receivers and start bankruptcy and prosecution proceedings. Like you normally do.

    Also, the situation for employees, is that they have paid the money in good faith (via a deduction), it is the employer who has misappropriated the money. IRD has always stated that its not the employees problem but the employers and they are normally vicious in their treatment as its fraud to spend it on anything (they are more tolerant of other issues, normally agreeing to payment plans).

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  32. nickb (3,673 comments) says:

    Interesting that the unions scream about employers breaching the “good faith” spirit of the ERA on a daily basis.

    How do you call deliberately misappropriating your employee’s PAYE good faith?

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  33. nickb (3,673 comments) says:

    I notice the left wingers are conspicuous by their absence in these threads (except for RRM, but at least he is not a headless cheerleader like toad etc)

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  34. Simon (706 comments) says:

    “he had made choices to pay for union campaigns rather than clear the debt”

    Pay other creditors ahead of IRD is likely tax evasion. Open and shut case. Payment wont matter now.

    Jail time or a bracelet around the ankle for tax evaders.

    But IRD will let Mattie and the other trustees off. Look the other way. Special privileges and treatment for Mattie. More equal than others.

    Anyone else not connected forget it. NZ is a corrupt country. IRD is a corrupt institution. It is not what the laws say it who you know. IRD will run away.

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  35. Simon (706 comments) says:

    Penalties and interest: Shortfall penalties
    Evasion
    Tax evasion may involve:

    •using deducted or withheld tax for anything other than its lawful purpose

    http://www.ird.govt.nz/how-to/debt/penalties/shortfall-penalties/sf-penalty-evasion.html

    Is there one law for all New Zealanders??? Stupid question.

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  36. PaulL (5,960 comments) says:

    To put a contra view:
    1. It isn’t actually the employees money. The normal form is that the employer tells the IRD how much they deducted. IRD give a credit to the employee, and raise a debt against the employer. So the employees are not impacted, what we have is a union failing to pay a portion of it’s debt to the IRD

    2. It is pretty standard practice for IRD to grant a payment arrangement (with or without interest depending on circumstances) to small businesses, so long as they keep their new liabilities up to date, and so long as they make regular payments. If, however, you default on that payment arrangement then that’s the point they usually throw the book at you. In short, they give you a second chance and are flexible, but there’s no third chance.

    I see no reason that Unite should be treated differently than other employers by the IRD, and I believe they currently are being treated the same. The politics of it are entirely different, and they deserve the attention they’re getting in the media. But IRD should not treat them differently because of who they are.

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  37. RightNow (6,773 comments) says:

    It’s this simple:
    http://www.ird.govt.nz/payroll-employers/employer-obligations/fail-to-deduct/

    Paying employee deductions

    Employers must pay deductions to us by each due date. The money deducted does not, at any stage, belong to employers. Under no circumstances should the deductions be used for any other purpose than for payment to Inland Revenue. We will help employers who try to meet their responsibilities but will take action against employers who do not comply with the tax laws.

    Failing to pay deductions to Inland Revenue is a serious offence and can result in prosecution. An employer who is convicted may be:

    fined up to $50,000 and/or
    sent to prison for up to five years.

    The name of anyone convicted will also appear in the New Zealand Gazette.

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  38. Smear (1 comment) says:

    Didn’t these guys declare 200k in donations to the labour party,

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  39. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    McCarten, tell us whewhewhewhere is thethethe momomomomomoney?

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  40. Komata (1,138 comments) says:

    So where are the screaming headlines, the faux outrage of a John campbell ‘analysis’, the marching in the streets and the hysterical letters to the editors (and ravings at the ‘Standard’ in response) – the normal reaction of all good lefties if a member of the Government or the ‘right’ do such a thing?

    Where?

    Oh, sorry, a deafening silence, ‘cos he’s one of theirs and so that makes it quite ALRIGHT.

    Can’t say I’m really surprised – thieves always look after their own and we all know that honour is lacking amongst such individuals.

    Situation (very) normal isn’t it. . . ?

    (BTW – where is the self-righteous Trevor M and a comment HERE from him about how disgusting it is that there is so much dishonesty – and from a UNION to boot? (One has to ask . . . ))

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  41. labrator (1,797 comments) says:

    …Unite paid $8000 in PAYE each month…

    That’s about 5 full time positions at $60k a year. That’s not a very big pay roll.

    The amount of GST owing is a lot. That means that they sell more than they pay for them to owe the IRD money. Are subscriptions to the union GST liable or are they counted as donations? I couldn’t tell from Unite’s website…

    If they take $630,000 in membership dues and $300,000 goes on wages, then if they spent the rest on campaigning then they’d have a credit of $36k in GST (@12.5%). If their only source of income was membership and was GST liable then they’d owe $70k with a net debit to ird of $34k. A lot less than the $57k they owe.

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  42. rouppe (932 comments) says:

    What a shame we didn’t know this when the Mana bye-election was running.

    Matt didn’t shy away from niggling Kris about his “roots in Mana” comments. Would have been interesting to see how he handled questions about missing tax money when he was campaigning on a platform of “fairer taxes”

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  43. Poliwatch (335 comments) says:

    Simon, as stated in earlier posts, this is actually much worse than mere tax evasion. Non payment of PAYE is a breach of trust and a CRIMINAL OFFENSE. I am involved in many insolvency issues and this is a common problem and the IRD do take action in these cases. I am in Australia at the moment working on one and the same issue arises when you don’t pay PAYG to the ATO.

    It has not done their case any good to admit that they deliberately and knowingly used the funds for other purposes.

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  44. nickb (3,673 comments) says:

    mere tax evasion

    Lol poli “mere tax evasion” is anything but, it is a criminal offence as you say, and a very serious one at that.

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  45. Jeremy Harris (323 comments) says:

    Unite staff should join a union to protect themselves from their exploitative employer.

    Lol, funniest comment I’ve seen for a while…

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  46. Rex Widerstrom (5,307 comments) says:

    The late penalties do add up – as many businesses know. But if it was a deliberate decision to keep running campaigns manufacturing widgets, instead of paying off the debt, then few will have sympathy.

    Running campaigns is part of the “business” of a union – it’s what its members expect it to do. If it didn’t, then members would withdraw their financial support and its income would fall. Exactly as would happen if my allegorical business stopped making widgets.

    It’s ridiculous that any organisation that owes money to the IRD should not only – and quite rightly – have to pay it, but should also be crippled by the burden of late penalties until finally it collapses. Then the IRD, ahead of everyone but secured lenders (i.e. the big banks) in the queue, mops up what’s left of the carcass and leaves a bunch of small, unsecured creditors, including employees to go to hell.

    If McCarten had used the funds to, say, travel overseas with his spouse expecting his members to pay because of an innate sense of noblesse oblige, then he’d be rightly condemned – as would any business owner who did the same thing. The only people who can do that are politicians.

    But any organisation that struggles to meet its obligations to its customers (and in the case of a union that’s its members) should have to pay only what it owes, not more.

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  47. Inventory2 (10,160 comments) says:

    I disagree Rex. Tax is the lifeblood of the economy, and McCarten has made a conscious and deliberate decision not to pay what he owes. And yet he expects small businesses to be “good employers”, meeting their tax obligations whilst he campaigns for them to be hit with a minimum wage of $15.00 per hour.

    IMHO McCarten has played a game of Russian Roulette, and he just rolled the wrong chamber. I have little sympathy for the plight that he is in; it is entirely of his own making.

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  48. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Unite are having a big shindig in CHCH sometime soon..they say they have a thousand members..They have a tab at Dux de Lux..afterwards..drinks on the worker..

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  49. wreck1080 (3,777 comments) says:

    Isn’t this theft?

    an indian fellow was recently sent to jail for tax evasion. I see no difference.

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  50. Rex Widerstrom (5,307 comments) says:

    @Inventory2:

    Tax is the lifeblood of the economy

    And it’s being drained from us at such a rate that we’re pale and wan and barely able to draw breath. And then if we stumble under the burden what do they do… reduce the outflow to help us survive? No, they stick another needle in, this one called “penalties”.

    And yet he expects small businesses to be “good employers”, meeting their tax obligations

    I can’t be certain, but I’d imagine if my imaginary widget maker said to Matt “the demand for widgets has fallen, I can make payroll this month but I’ll have to draw on some of the funds sitting in the tax account and we’ll hope things improve in the next quarter” he’d say “no, sack the workers, the IRD needs it more… after all, Pansy Wong’s waiting at the airport for us to fund another not at all dodgy overseas trip”.

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  51. Swampy (273 comments) says:

    Here is the previous post of the unions assets
    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/11/the_big_money_in_politics.html

    Now what someone says they have to have all this money for campaigns, that is just so much rubbish. The PSA with over $20 million in assets is a complete joke.

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  52. Swampy (273 comments) says:

    “t’s ridiculous that any organisation that owes money to the IRD should not only – and quite rightly – have to pay it, but should also be crippled by the burden of late penalties until finally it collapses. Then the IRD, ahead of everyone but secured lenders (i.e. the big banks) in the queue, mops up what’s left of the carcass and leaves a bunch of small, unsecured creditors, including employees to go to hell.”

    No it’s not ridiculous. It’s designed to discourage people from paying their tax late. And don’t tell me that people don’t find creative ways of dodging their tax because they do all the time.

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  53. ch123 (584 comments) says:

    Rex “It’s ridiculous that any organisation that owes money to the IRD should not only – and quite rightly – have to pay it, but should also be crippled by the burden of late penalties until finally it collapses.”

    “no, sack the workers, the IRD needs it more… after all, Pansy Wong’s waiting at the airport for us to fund another not at all dodgy overseas trip”.

    But if you can’t pay your employee’s taxes, what you really mean is you can’t actually afford to pay your employees their full salary. If your obligation is $4k per month for your employee and you pay them $3300 and don’t pay the IRD the $700 you owe them in PAYE then you really can only afford to pay the employee $3300. So you should pay them $2736 and the IRD $563

    Look, I’ve been there before (see my earlier comment). We ran our business to the ground (didn’t bring in enough money and had to pay out too much) and it was no fault of the IRD.

    As for Matt, if you have the money to pay people and pay your taxes, you don’t get to choose to do marketing instead of pay your employee’s tax. If you want to stay in business, you pay your tax.

    I would love to buy a new computer and not pay my taxes, but I have to pay my taxes. I will buy a new computer when I can afford it.

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  54. PaulL (5,960 comments) says:

    Rex, what if my imaginary small business owner said to Matt M that his business couldn’t make a profit with the current tax rates? Would Matt say to him “just pay part of the tax, no worries mate.” Or would he say “a progressive tax system is essential to the well being of the country, you need to pay your share”? I think I know the answer to that.

    The reality is that Matt campaigned on increasing taxes. And yet he personally has failed to pay the taxes his union owes – in fact chosen not to pay them. That strikes me as hypocritical – a classic case of “other people should pay more taxes, but not me.” Which isn’t a surprise to me, telling other people what to do (but leave me alone) is a hallmark of the left.

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  55. ch123 (584 comments) says:

    @PauL Absolutely. The hypocrisy is staggering. Mind boggling even.

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  56. Inventory2 (10,160 comments) says:

    Quite so PaulL; McCarten has been exposed as a complete and utter hypocrite of the “Do as I say, not as I do” variety. He has lost his mandate to challenge businesses for questionable employment practices when he is guilty of such things himself.

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  57. Doug (407 comments) says:

    One of New Zealand’s largest unions, Unite, owes IRD over $130,000 including over $36,000 in tax meant to be paid on behalf of its employees. The union’s accounts, which can be publicly viewed through a Government website, shows Unite’s liabilities exceeded its assets by over $170,000 for the year ended March 2009.

    He said it was “not that much in the great scheme of things”.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/4416587/Union-owes-IRD-over-130-000

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  58. Chris2 (765 comments) says:

    What I find worrisome is that she undertook 10 overseas trips in two years – on average that’s a trip every 10 weeks.

    We pay these Ministers a handsome salary to live and work in New Zealand, yet they are off around the globe on full pay every couple of months.

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  59. Leon (4 comments) says:

    I have just been looking at the financial statements lodged by Unite’s accountant/auditor on the Registrar of Incorporated Socities’ website.
    The detail tells a story, at best, of a “plucky little union” that is failing. The accounts prove beyond all doubt that Unite is NOT “one of the biggest unions in NZ”.
    Workers who expect Unite to be able to be there for them, to be their organising instrument, are running a big risk of being hung out to dry.
    Note that these accounts only go up to March 31 last year (2009). What has happened in the 20 months since then?

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  60. kiwi in america (2,459 comments) says:

    Where’s toad..and maggie…and inky? Come on man up guys and defend your mmmmate Matt! Surely there’s a VRWC angle here somewhere!

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  61. Buaidh No Bars (17 comments) says:

    This missing money might be in the pockets as the money Winston has not yet paid back.

    Campaigning is a private benefit to a staff member because if he wins he gets paid by an organisation outside the employer.

    That is an FBT issue.

    I repeat – the SFO has no alternative than to investigate.
    Similarly the IRD.

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